Although many people thought Bob Hartley was a great coach who did the best he could with what and who he had to work with, the Flames organization thought otherwise. The announcement that he is no longer with the team was a surprise to many. His enthusiasm and passion will be missed.
It’s tough to say goodbye to a coach who came to this organization with some pretty good high profile players, quickly losing them either to trades or retirement, and then had to rebuild with rookie talent. It might have appeared that Flames veteran players Jerome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff might have been irreplaceable. However, under Hartley’s leadership, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan stepped up and into the team. As their first professional coach, these rookies developed quickly and helped a younger team take the first round of the playoffs in the 2014-15 season.
This feat earned Hartley the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach that season, yet a year later when the Flames ended the season in 26th spot, he was unceremoniously removed from the bench. Many would wonder if really, Hartley was given a chance.
Flames GM Brad Treliving met with Calgary media on Tuesday morning to give the low-down on the Flames decision, saying that this past season wasn’t the only reason why Hartley was let go. It was a year with an inconsistent team that couldn’t get it together. Treliving said that Hartley likely had taken the team as far as he could and that a new direction was probably necessary to ensure future success with team. He said everyone, even he as general manager, was responsible for the team’s performance and that the players will be under heavy scrutiny next year.
The dismissal was made with no other coaches in mind, according to Treliving, but the word on the street is that since Bruce Boudreau was suddenly made available at the end of last week, he might be a logical candidate for the Flames bench.
Treliving did have praise for Hartley, saying that his passion was so great that he virtually“bled” for the team and that the entire organization wishes nothing but the best for him. The Flames GM was graceful under fire, but after all, Hartley wasn’t his hire. He was brought in under a previous administration and in light of that, maybe Treliving did give him a chance under the circumstances.
Hartley has always maintained that he doesn’t coach to save his job – he coaches for his team. As a proven Stanley Cup winner, no doubt he will be a credit and an inspiration to his next NHL franchise. He and his wife have two children and enjoyed making their home in Calgary these past four years.
Associate coach Jacques Cloutier was also removed from the Flames bench, leaving Martin Gelinas, goalie coach Jordan Sigalet and video coach Jamie Pringle to greet whatever new coach comes the Flames way.
Thanks to Bob Hartley and his family as well as to Jacques Cloutier for stepping up and laying the groundwork for what we all hope is an outstanding 2016-17 season in Calgary. All the best in the future, wherever they end up.